Monday, September 24, 2012

Wyndham Vacation Rentals White Paper Reveals Significant Consumer Demand for a National, Hotel-Backed Brand

86% of Non-Vacation Rental Guests Would Consider a Hotel-Branded Vacation RentalWyndham Vacation Rentals®, the world's largest professionally managed vacation rentals business, has released a white paper based on the findings of its 2012 survey conducted by PhoCusWright which examined U.S. consumers' attitudes and behaviors toward vacation rentals. In "Vacation Rentals: Do Brands Matter?," PhoCusWright presents a number of the study's key findings—the most significant being the appeal a hotel-branded vacation rental company holds for consumers.

Illustrating the power of a well-known brand, the PhoCusWright study revealed that 86 percent of non-vacation rental guests1 would be more likely to consider a hotel-branded vacation rental over other vacation rental options available in the marketplace. Respondents indicated that core benefits, such as consistent product features, and quality and service standards were the overarching reasons a hotel-branded vacation rental company would pique their interest when planning a vacation.

"At Wyndham Vacation Rentals, we pride ourselves in offering a consistent vacation rental experience that gives guests peace of mind," said Bob Milne, president, Wyndham Vacation Rentals North America. "We're able to do this by combining a professionally managed rental model with the benefits of being backed by Wyndham Worldwide, one of the largest hospitality companies in the world. This position gives us the ability to offer a standard of service that people understand and can count on for all their stays."

The reasons respondents identified for finding a hotel-branded vacation rental more appealing included:
  • I would know what standard to expect from a home
  • It would be easier to contact someone with longer business hours
  • It would be easier to search and book online
  • A home would have more service options like housekeeping and check-in
  • There would be more information and pictures available online
  • I know I would have recourse if I needed help

PhoCusWright also projected that this same population of non-vacation rental guests represent a $12.4 billion opportunity annually based on the 20 million frequent travelers who have considered vacation rentals in the past. This number was arrived at by assuming two adults per household with an average lodging spend of $1,236 per household per vacation.

Reasons for Booking a Vacation Home Rental"We believe strongly in our ability to lead this market based on Wyndham Vacation Rentals' unique position as the only major hotel-backed vacation rentals company currently in existence," added Milne. "Furthermore, our experience and success in Europe with brands such as Hoseasons, Landal GreenParks and James Villa Holidays, provides us the expertise needed to lead the growing U.S. sector."

A $25 billion industry in the U.S., the vacation rental sector has experienced heightened consumer interest as online visibility grows and new business models emerge. Travelers are increasingly viewing this form of lodging as a viable alternative to more mainstream options due to its value and affordability. As a result, second homeowners are putting their homes up for rent in response to the demand.

"Even with heightened awareness, the vacation rentals marketplace still remains poorly understood," continued Milne. "Travelers need to understand there are two flavors of vacation rentals: the rent-by-owner model, where the owner manages his or her own property and the professionally managed model, where the owner puts a professional management team in charge of his or her property. We believe the latter gives travelers the confidence they need when spending their travel dollars by providing a certain level of service and standards."

In an effort to educate consumers, Wyndham Vacation Rentals North America unveiled a list of six tenets that every traveler should expect when booking a vacation rental stay, called the Vacation Rental Bill of RightsSM. This service pledge lets travelers know they have the right to:

  • Work with an experienced hospitality company they can trust
  • Assistance from a knowledgeable customer service team before, during and after their stay
  • Easily search from property descriptions that are detailed and accurate
  • Choose from a diverse selection of distinctive vacation accommodations
  • Book confidently in real time and pay online
  • A clean, regularly inspected vacation rental

"We hope that with The Vacation Rental Bill of Rights travelers become better educated on the emerging vacation rental industry so they can make a more informed booking decision," continued Milne. "Through the bill we also hope to raise awareness for the professionally managed vacation rental model which we believe gives travelers an advocate on their side when booking their next vacation."

To view the entire contents of the vacation rental white paper, which among other topics discusses reasons why travelers choose a vacation rental and how vacation rental trips stand apart from other lodging options, visit the Media Center on the Wyndham Vacation Rentals website.

1Defined as adults (25+) who took at least three leisure trips and stayed in paid lodging at least once, but did not rent a vacation home in the past 12 months